Winston Churchill once famously said: If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going.
I think it just about describes my state of mind right now and those of many others. It is not just the war but it is the return of the intensity of the global outcry against Israel/Jews which I have felt the impact of in so many ways, but more than that, it is pessimism of the outlook for the region – it has become so clear that the sense of loathing for Israel is beyond anything I – possibly naively – could have imagined. With the depth of justification for 7th October and the denial of our right to exist, there simply is no magic solution.
I was asked by a relative abroad to help with their homework. The task was to present three ‘good news’ stories about Israel. I like to think I am current in my knowledge of what’s happening and I couldn’t think of a single thing – a complete brain freeze.
So how are we/am I able to cope with all that has happened and is happening in life since 7th October. It is something as a father of a soldier on the frontlines for much of the conflict I have thought about. There is no secret sauce but three things I turn to:
- Faith – As a person of faith – I realize now more than ever that I am a part of and not just a reader of the story of the Jewish people.This is not our first rodeo – we have been here before. As Rabbi Sacks said: “How do you live with the constant threat of violence and war? That takes faith. Israel is the people that has always been sustained by faith, faith in God, in the future, in life itself. And though Israel is a secular state, its very existence is testimony to faith: the faith of a hundred generations that Jews would return; the faith that led the pioneers to rebuild a land against seemingly impossible odds; the faith that after the Holocaust the Jewish people could live again; the faith that, in the face of death, continues to say: choose life.”
- Resolve – As Churchill said above, we just have to “keep going”…we need stamina and resolve and for Olim like me, this is the trade off for all the beauty and pleasure of living in the Land of and State of Israel. We want to rebuild, have our captives back, soldiers home and return to “peace and quiet” as a positive force in the world on so many levels.
- Unity – I did not want this war and still don’t but if there is one positive to come from it, it is perhaps a new found sense of unity. I was in despair before the war at the mutual loathing of groups in society – every one became an extremist in the advocacy of their view. Hamas clearly took advantage and now we have a chance to reboot. We can follow the example of the community of communities we have seen bond so seamlessly in the IDF and learn from our youth who have united in their heroism. Whether we will or not remains to be seen but I will do all I can to play my part.
People talk about winning and losing. In my view, there is no winning as we lost so many in such a dreadful way and can’t turn the clock back. But we can soldier on, beat Hamas, have faith and resolve and learn from the mistakes we made before the war.
As Churchill said – “keep going.”